The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco has ordered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to “revoke all tolerances” and “cancel all registrations” for the pesticide, chlorpyrifos.
Chlorpyrifos was first registered for use in the United States in 1965 by Dow Chemical to control leafage and ground insects. It was widely used on residential lawns and golf courses and as a termite control agent on structures until it was banned after about 15 years for any home use.
Agricultural use as a pesticide continued to be permitted with restrictions found on label instructions. The U.S. Department of Agriculture also continued to support its use for pest management by fruit and vegetable growers.
According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, chlorpyrifos has been used as a part of environmentally-friendly IPM (integrated pest management) programs for nearly 50 years.
Chlorpyrifos is used for a wide range of crops, including alfalfa, citrus, vegetables, soybeans, almonds, and others. It also protects hundreds of thousands of acres of grass seed production, where it controls aphids, cutworms, and other pests.
The Natural Resources Defense Council and Pesticide Action Network North America filed a petition in 2007, asking EPA to ban chlorpyrifos from use on crops. The EPA did not respond and the environmental watchdog groups sued in 2014 regarding the agency’s failure to act. A year later they asked the EPA to revoke all food residue tolerances for chlorpyrifos.
EPA spokesman, Michael Abboud, said the agency was reviewing the decision and could appeal the ruling in the US Supreme Court.